2019-Growing Hazelnuts

Germinating hazelnuts

The first step for growing new plants is evaluating each hazelnut seed for various characteristics such as good taste, thin shell, round shape, ease of cracking and separating the shells, and type of plant that  produced the nut, such as non-suckering.
After evaluating each one the superior hazelnut seed is then stratified (a period of cold temperatures), which is needed in the germination process. 
The first step in the stratification process is to soak the nut for 12 to 24 hours to rehydrate the nut and remove any empty nuts that are floating on top of the water.  They are then put in plastic zip lock bags with damp peat moss. The peat helps reduce mold and fungus from growing.
The nuts need at least 4 weeks of temperatures between 34º F – 40º F to germinate. If the temperature falls below 32º F the stratification period stops.
I usually refrigerate the nuts starting the last week in December and remove them in March.
This is the first year I’ve had some of my new varieties germinate in the fridge in February, which is very unusual for hazelnuts. I’m hoping it’s a new hardier variety.
The hazelnut seeds are removed from the fridge and soaked in 80º F water with a weak bleach solution for 5 minutes, and placed between damp paper towels in plastic trays.
For the hazelnut seeds to germinate the temp must be above 50º F.
I try to maintain a temp between 65º F to 70º F.
In 2 to 3 days the shell will crack and the radicle will begin to appear.
They are then planted slightly under the soil in tubes with the radicle pointing down.

In 5 to 10 days the stem (hypocotyl) will begin to appear in the tubes. 
At this time the temp is lowered to 60º F.
The plants here are now 2 weeks old and have their primary leaves.
At this period a small fan is used during the day to produce a thicker shorter stem.
This plants here are 2 months old and at this time they are gradually moved outside.
Not this year yet with all the snow and cold temps.
Hazelnuts 2019
The 3 year hazelnut plants here are just starting to show under the melting snow.
These plants were covered in leaves last fall in anticipation of little or no snow.
With the high snow cover the rabbits were able to hop over the 4 ft fence.
In this picture of the 4 yr hazelnuts you can see the rabbit damage on the top of the plants which indicates how high the snow had been.

These are the 4 year old hand pollinated hazelnuts in the orchard.
I’m hoping some will produce nuts  this year.
Last year at this time the plants were flowering and leafing out.
Here we have some of the older plants that are under water.
In some years they’ve been like this for at least 2 weeks.

Hazelnuts plants ready for sale.
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0 replies on “2019-Growing Hazelnuts”

Hope you are right about the earlier germinating seeds possibly being hardier. I wonder if the reduced cold requirement indicates a less hardy plant, at least one that is adapted to needing a shorter cold period before germination, as occurs in areas with shorter winters.

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